Monday, October 24, 2016

Are Lawyers Drug Protectors/Coddlers?

Republic Act 9165, Sec. 3 (ee) defines what or a who a drug protector/coddler is, to wit:
Any person who knowingly and willfully consents to the unlawful acts provided for in this Act and uses his/her influence, power or position in shielding, harboring, screening or facilitating the escape of any person he/she knows, or has reasonable grounds to believe on or suspects, has violated the provisions of this Act in order to prevent the arrest, prosecution and conviction of the violator.

The 1987 Constitution, also provides, to wit:
Art. III, Sec. 12 (1)  Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.

Art. III, Sec. 14 (2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy, impartial, and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf. However, after arraignment, trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable.

It is the bounden duty of every lawyer, that in the defense of a person accused of a crime, by all fair and honorable means, regardless of his personal opinion as to the guilt of the accused, to present every defense that the law permits, to the end that no person may be deprived of life or liberty, but by due process of law. (Rule 138, Sec. 20, (i))

There are some who think that just because an attorney handles the defense in criminal cases such person is automatically a protector or a coddler. Well, in a way of speaking, yes. Lawyers are protectors and coddlers but not in the way it is defined under RA 9165 and certainly not in the way as some people (who are filing cases against lawyers on account of the type of lawyering that they do) seem to think.

What do you think? Are lawyers protectors and coddlers? Is the state a protector and coddler under the doctrine of Parens Patriae?

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